Saturday, April 06, 2013

Apologizing For Complimenting Someone's Looks

It's a minor tempest but still entertaining to watch.
California's attorney general received an apology call from President Barack Obama Thursday after he told a crowd of Democratic donors she was "by far the best-looking attorney general."
To be honest, I'm still trying to understand what's wrong with "binders of women".  Ok, I'm really not trying to understand it, I know it was just something the lefties (successfully) latched onto and pretended to be offended by, even though there's no possible way any sane person could be offended by it.  But the media firestorm over that comment was certainly far more muted than the current cool breeze, and as Exhibit A I offer the headline for the linked article above: "Obama apologizes for quip, which some called sexist".  Some.  I don't recall seeing that kind of squishiness in stories about those awful, horrible, sexist binders, and I'm not the only one noticing this:
It's a good thing that Barack Obama is only the president of the United States and leader of the free world, and that he doesn't have a really important job like television sportscaster.

Because in that other role, as we learned a few months ago, a man is simply not allowed to publicly compliment a woman on her good looks without getting in big trouble.

Just ask Brent Musburger...
So what did Musburger say back then that was so terrible? As the camera focused on Webb, a former Miss Alabama, in the stands, the sportscaster turned to his co-announcer Kirk Herbstreit, a former quarterback at Ohio State University, and said: "You quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman."

The cad.
I don't often agree with Navarrette, but he's on a roll in this piece:
By contrast, Obama isn't catching much criticism for a similar comment that he made Thursday during a swing through California. The wince-inducing remark may have been nothing more than innocent banter between old friends, as Obama supporters claimed. But it is also undeniably sexist.

How do we know? Because the comment objectifies a professional woman, and it is not something that you're likely to hear said about a man with the same credentials.

It all happened at a fundraising lunch Thursday in Atherton, California, as Obama was rattling off the qualities of California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is often mentioned as a likely future gubernatorial candidate...

"She's brilliant and she's dedicated, she's tough," Obama said in describing our state's chief law enforcement officer. "She also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general in the country."

The fact that the crowd responded with a mixture of chuckles and groans must have signaled to the president that he had stepped in it.

"It's true," he told the crowd. "Come on."

No, Mr. President, you come on. This is how you talk about a colleague, a fellow elected official, a fellow lawyer with the goods to compete head to head with any man in the country?

All this talk about how Barack Obama is a different type of leader for a new century, one unencumbered by the prejudices and stereotypes that plagued earlier generations and one who symbolizes how far we've come. And this is what we get?

"The West Wing" meets "Mad Men."
It's not just the media giving Obama a pass after having jumped on Romney's entirely innocuous remarks:
So, when a reporter for the Fresno Bee asked Patty Bellasalma, president of the California chapter of National Organization for Women, about the president's comments, she couldn't hide her disgust.

Not for the president. But for the reporter.

"I wish (this call) was about something substantive," Bellasalma told the journalist. "I think that is my reaction, is that that seems to be the only time that the California National Organization for Women gets called isn't when full-scope pregnancy coverage is being cut from the budget or something other that's going to impact women in a detrimental way right here in this city in the state government. But we worry about whether the president thinks Kamala Harris is pretty. I guess my comment is no comment, because we're too busy trying to protect women and girls."
Aren't they protecting them from men who objectify women?  Navarrette calls a spade a spade here:
There is only one reason the president is skating on these remarks. It's because the people who normally complain about this stuff -- the folks who make up the grievance lobby -- are among his strongest supporters.
This is an example of selective outrage and double standards. That part of the story isn't pretty.
I wonder if this is Navarrette's first time noticing this double standard.


KauaiMark said...

The only thing worse would have been an apology like:

"I'm sorry, you are not by far the best-looking attorney general.

Darren said...

I haven't looked, but I heard that Florida's is more attractive.

maxutils said...

In the same conference he referred to a male legislator as being a nice guy despite the fact he wasn't tall ... waiting for the outrage to continue... what? no outrage?

PeggyU said...

Yeah, but have you seen the hooters on California's Secretary of State? I mean, wow, you could put an eye out with one of those!

I can say that because I'm a girl. That's how double standards work. We can pick and choose what to be offended about. Same as the media.

Liza said...

Now please don't go jumping to any conclusions out there, but I've heard him compliment men about their looks, golf games, youth, athletic prowess, etc.,.....we're being too sensitive here. And if it doesn't bother her, why should it bother anyone else. I didn't hear any uproar when he complimented the men.